March 06, 2007

‘Negotiations’, Extracts from an interview with Gwyneth Lewis by Ian Gregson

As I was seven years old when I started to write, I was probably reading Enid Blyton and books like The Little Wooden Horse! I started to keep my own anthology of best poems in a notebook, which I still do, and seem to remember an I.D. Hooson ballad about two rabbits being a particular favourite. Later, I was mad for science fiction. As to poetry, I was knocked sideways by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and took hours trying to dissect the poems to see how they worked (as you’d dismantle an engine). Oddly enough, I learned a lot about poetry from Latin verse. Because we weren’t fluent speakers, I looked more carefully at how Catallus and Virgil achieved their effects, and was very keen on The Aeneid. Later Milton became a particular enthusiasm, both at school and again in university, when I was lucky enough to undertake a special Milton paper, taught by Geoffrey Hill. As well as opening my mind about seventeenth-century poetry, he also knocked some shape into my essay style, he had a very acerbic way of telling you not to be foolish!

Gwyneth Lewis on Parables and Faxes

I had noticed two strands merging from my writing. One was the straight “I” poems, in which a poetic self was the protagonist, poems which look autobiographical (but which may not be) and a more indirect way of conveying one experience in terms of another. This looks like a parable but can be a more accurate way of describing autobiography in code than the “I” narratives. What I discovered is that neither mode of exploring reality is watertight and that both bleed into each other so that at the end of the sequence I could no longer tell whether any individual poem was a “fax” (a direct copy of my personal experience) or a parable (reality described in the third person). (54-55)

Lewis, Gwyneth. ‘Negotiations’ (Interview by Ian Gregson). Planet: the Welsh Internationalist. Vol. 173. 50-56.

- No comments Not publicly viewable

Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.


Facebook Widget

The Midnight Heart

“Zona de plagas donde la dormida come / lentamente / su corazón de medianoche” – Alejandra Pizarnik

Night ramblings of insomnia, and day ramblings for the sleep deprived.

Search this blog

March 2007

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Feb |  Today  | Apr
         1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31   



my read shelf:
Zoe's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Red Room

Visit me in the Red Room

The Secret

Book Cover

Blog archive



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Comment Policy

Feel free to leave a comment on this blog, but I want to let readers know that I only accept comments that are linked to a valid homepage, e-mail or blog. I don’t accept anonymous comments. If a conversation is going to work, I want to know who it is that I’m talking to. If you really have a good reason for remaining anonymous, drop me a line instead by e-mail.

Most recent comments

  • Yes, you're right it does make you think and I know what he means. I also like the fact that it's su… by Sue on this entry
  • True, I hope so too, but it makes you think! by on this entry
  • He takes a very pessimistic view of things. I think the human spirit will prevail. I don't see the p… by Sue on this entry
  • Hi Zoe, do you know the glass dresses made by the artist Diana Dias Leao? They're not meant to be wo… by redbotinki on this entry
  • We're having some technical issues with this blog post, so please bear with me! by on this entry

Favourite blogs

Spanish Daily Word

Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder